Where the f***’s the Tequila?? – Diary By Kieth Stodart
January 30, 2003
So the road show continues, Newcastle last night and now Edinburgh tonight. Mike Randle certainly did the business last night as he got my Forever Changes programme signed by not only all the orchestra and the band but also by Arthur himself. Mike again I’m indebted to you.
I don’t know how the band is feeling but this tour is taking its toll on me now. My skin is starting to resemble a spotty adolescent, I’m developing a double chin and my kidneys are asking what exactly is going to hit them next. Anyway after Glasgow it’s finished for me, Oh apart from Teenage Fanclub on Sunday but after that it’s a complete detox schedule. It may be difficult though as I’m off to California on business next weekend. (I wonder if there are any gigs on in San Francisco??)
I’m on the1.30 train from Darlington to Edinburgh, which should get me in at 3.30, which gives me plenty of time to relax before tonight’s gig. I’m meeting the now legendary Paul Barr and his girlfriend Carol (or is it his fiancée now) at around 7.00pm. I enjoy travelling on the train it’s really quite relaxing and this particular train is empty so it’s feet up and get the tunes on the portable CD player.
The music selection today is Forever Changes (naturally) ,De Capo,Teenage Fanclub’s new album, 4766 seconds a couple of my own compilations plus 2 which I in the USA called Chris Utter had sent me. One is Reel to Real, that he’s recorded from the original vinyl and re-mastered and the other is a really interesting one from a band called Smokestack Lightening. I have sent a couple of CDs and photos to Chris and he has been reciprocating. Chris informs me that this band was around the LA scene in the late sixties, he thought I might like the album so he put it onto CD from vinyl. He also told me that there are only 2 copies of this album on CD, one he has sent to me and the other he has sent to none other than Jay Donnellan!! What an honour!! For you anoraks out there the album is called Off the Wall.
Tonight the plan is to take it easy, as I said before I feeling pretty knackered doing this entire concert thing and I’m not as young as I used to be. My reputation as a real pisshead appears to be growing mainly due to that Mike Randle, Christ!! He can talk. Lizzy B. pointed out the other night that anyone she has seen in my company e.g. Peter at RFH or Paul and Natasha at Manchester appear to have been totally smashed while in my company. I actually think it’s my rugby player drinking stamina and my slightly larger body mass either that they simply can’t handle their beer.
Back to the journey, which has been rather uneventful as I simply read, some of my book, Porno by Irvine Welsh and listen to my songs (sorry couldn’t resist that).
The train arrives on time and I head up from Waverley station to my hotel, which is only 5 minutes walk. I phone Mike as we are meeting up later. I persuaded Mike some time ago that he should wear my kilt at the Edinburgh gig so I’ve brought it up for him.
I meet Mike at the Queens Hall just before 7.00pm and he takes me into the dressing rooms so I can leave him the kilt. I am trying to describe to Mike how to put the kilt on when Gene Kraut let’s drop that he used to wear one in a restaurant when he lived in Sweden so Mike should be OK.
We then go for something to eat, Mike and I go in to a Mexican restaurant called The Sombrero (how original) but Rusty, Chapple and Gene decide against this and go their merry ways. In the restaurant we order a jug of margarita to start with and I can categorically say that this is the worse ever margarita I have ever or will ever taste. It’s simply a 2 pint jug of water with a few ice cubes, some lime juice but where the f***’s the Tequila !!! The food’s not to bad although but we get moved mid course as a large party is coming in and they need to move our table. They’ve probably heard about this establishment’s reputation for making top quality margaritas (or as Mike says ritas, there’s no f***ing marg!!)
As we finish our meal Paul and Carol arrive, they say hello and then go into the pub next door for a drink. We settle up the bill and I go and join them for a beer, Mike heads back over to the venue to prepare for the gig. We go over to the gig about half an hour later and manage to buy a beer just before the band comes on stage; we take our beers into the hall and watch the show.
Mike’s true to his word and he’s got the kilt on although the sporran is at the side and not the front but I assume that’s because it would interfere with his guitar. It’s irrelevant anyway as he looks the dog’s bollocks.
The set is to the usual format with a few songs minus the orchestra then Forever Changes in its full classical format.
I have to say at this point that you can tell this gig is in Edinburgh as there’s an older crowd and a smell in the air that’s not foul but resembles baby powder, now if you’re from Glasgow you may understand this, Edinburgh gigs are so different from Glasgow, its hard to describe but in Glasgow it’s a “dirtier” and “rawer” atmosphere, anyway let’s move on in case I attract some hate mail.
The band leave the stage after FC and come back on for some more songs initially minus the orchestra they playa few songs including the now renamed “Between Kraut and Randle” and finish off with the best version of Singing Cowboy I have heard to date on this tour, you know the horns really give it an edge. They leave the stage to generous applause and people start to shuffle out, not me though as I know what’s coming .I tell 2 lads in front of me to stay put because there’s one more to go. Just As I tell them the band comes back on and rips into Seven and Seven is. Absolutely magnificent, we’re not worthy!!
After the gig Paul Carol and I hang around outside the hall until Mike brings back my kilt. He’s not joining us for a drink as he’s having an early night back at the hotel!!!! I hope there are no skeletons in his cupboard. We head into a pub next door called the ¼ Gill, which incidentally is a drinks measure in Scotland, and order some drinks. There are a few people in there that have been to the gig including a couple of girls from Paul’s hometown, Greenock. Paul buy’s them a drink and sits down for a chat but the topic comes on to the subject of Prince so he leaves.
We get chatting with the landlord Brian (Miller) who like me is now a social rugby player. It’s now about midnight and I ask him when does the bar shut? to which he replies with the classic word normally???!! I like his response and I can see there’s a bit more mileage left here. One of the girls asks him if would call her a taxi ??” you’re a taxi” he says , the man’s on form what a f***ing classic!!
Everybody leaves the pub and we stay and chat to Brian for a while he says that the police are quite sharp round here and you can’t open later than 1.00am. He locks the front door gives us some drinks on the house and we carry on chatting it’s now 2.00am. We head off at 2.30as Brian has to get home although I get the impression he could have stayed and talked for a while longer.
We head back to my hotel via the pizza shop as Carol is hungry, she brings the pizza back to my room and we have a coffee and chat some more until they decide to head back to their hotel. Which Carol says is a shithole.
We meet for brunch the next day and laugh our socks off at he events of the night before and I had planned to have a quiet one. After brunch they head back to Glasgow and head back to the ¼ Gill for a sharpener before my train journey home.
Another classic evening and Glasgow’s still to come.
Now I’ve crammed a lot into this diary but I’ve probably missed even more. I never mentioned that Belle and Sebastian were at the gig, so was the singer from Idlewild and of course the gang from Skelitos Way including the heads hauncho Skeletor, but that, I’m afraid, is another story, you had to be there to appreciate it.
As usual any omissions are purely to protect the innocent
All Pix By Kieth Stodart